64 of the Worst Things Ever Said to a Griever

Supporting a Griever / Supporting a Griever : Eleanor Haley

For further articles on these topics:

We recently asked our Facebook readers the following questions: "What is the best thing anyone has said to you in your grief?" and "What is the worst thing anyone has said to you in your grief?"

As the title of this post suggests, today we're talking about some of the negative comments that were shared with us. Honestly, we’ve been talking about what not to say to people who are grieving since WYG’s inception. Most people get why this is a conversation worth having, but we do hear from our fair share of critics every time we do. I don't know what to tell you other then this: We believe there is some benefit in having an "Oh no they didn't" kind of moment, and don't bother telling us there isn't because we won't believe you.

As they say, the struggle is real... and sometimes it helps to have space where we can connect and support one another over such a common experience. Sure, after writing several articles on this topic, some of what we have to say is redundant but—you know what?—it bears repeating. This conversation never ceases to be necessary because every day new people become bereaved and new people take on the position of "supportive friend or family member".

Being a supportive family member or friend can be tough because what to say and do in this position isn't cut and dry. When reading through the responses we received for "best" and "worst" comments, we realized this concept can be downright perplexing. We noticed that while some statements are objectively good or terrible, others seem only subjectively so. And some statements made BOTH the best and the worst lists!

How do I know what to say to my loved one who's grieving?

So what factors make a comment go one way or the other? Well, for starters, comments that are ill-timed, said by the wrong person, said to the wrong person, or simply thoughtless can easily get people in trouble.

All of that said, we should get around to sharing the list. Also make sure to check out the 64 of the Best Things Ever Said to a Griever as a bit of a pallet cleanser, along with a few thoughts on some of the best ways to support a grieving person.

64 of the Worst Things Ever Said to a Griever

1. "I thought you'd be over it by now."

2. "People have been through worse."

3. "Buck up!"

4. [After hearing a loved one was cremated] "Now she will never go to heaven, Why did the family burn her spirit?"

5. "It's not a big deal because, literally, everyone dies."

6. "Get over it."

7. "I'll call you, check in on you, and we can get together" [then never called]

8. "It's kind of like you got divorced."

9. "I heard that's the worst way to die."

10. "If my child died, I would be happy because I would know he is in heaven."

11. "You have to be strong."

12. "Now you can live your own life rather than taking care of a disabled child."

13. Nothing, just no acknowledgement of the loss.

14. [Said to my mom after her son died] "What did he go and do now?"

15. "Don't be depressed. No one likes people who are depressed."

16. "You've lost so many people, it probably doesn't even phase you anymore."

17. My phone rang and it was a church "friend". She asked me what was wrong; I told her my mother had just passed away a few hours before and she said: "Oh, don't let anyone go through her house until I get there. I want to see what she had."

18. "You should be rejoicing!"

19. "At least he made it to 92."

20. "Look on the bright side..."

21. "We all have problems."

22. [When telling someone how I believe seeing cardinals is a sign] "That's not theologically possible."

23. "What did you think was going to happen? He was a drug addict!"

24. [Weeks after my mom died] "Well, you know your father WILL marry again."

25. "That's life!"

26. "You've lost all of your joy."

27. "Everything happens for a reason."

28. "You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and move on."

29. "Your sad dreams and nightmares aren't normal."

30. [On hearing of my husband's death] "Wow, they're dropping like flies!"

31. "You're too young to know what real grief is."

32. "I forgive you for being such a B!@tch. I know you're grieving."

33. "I know how you feel."

34. "God never gives you more than you can handle."

35. [In reference to a memory of my mum] "Just put it back in the drawer. It doesn't belong here."

36. "I don’t want to sound mean, but you need to move forward. She’s not coming back."

37. "Don't be sad when there's so much to be grateful for."

38. "God needed him more than you do."

39. "She's in a better place."

40. [To my 12-year-old son] "Well, you're the man of the house now."

41. "I am going to hang up now. Call me back when you stop crying."

42. "Everyone's just waiting for you to snap because you have to."

43. After our 20-year-old daughter died in a traffic accident, a lady said she knew how we felt because their dog had died the week before!

44. [At my mom's memorial service] "This is a day for celebration!"

45. "If I went through everything you did, I'd have killed myself."

46. "That's why you shouldn't have had a lot of kids."

47. "Remember, others have it worse than you."

48. "At least you're young. You can have another."

49. "Snap out of it; People die."

50. "Give me $20 and I'll give you a workbook."

51. That my loved one who wasn’t baptized was floating around in “purgatory.”

52. "You can enter the room again when you stop crying."

53. "You're being selfish."

54. "I can't imagine what it was like for your mum when she died."

55. "It was her time."

56. "Even this will pass."

57. "Life should be more than just grief. Let it go."

58. [When my mother had a moment of feeling better in her final days (i.e. terminal lucidity), the hospice worker said] "People always feel better just before they die."

59. "Losing your husband is nothing compared to the death of a parent. You can always replace your husband."

60. Six months after the passing of my 18-year-old son, a woman that used to work for our family business (knew us well) walked up to me in the grocery store and asked me which son it was.

61. "Why are you still sad for your son?"

62.  [Less than 24 hours after my dad passed, his wife said] “He kept saying all day that he thought you were mad at him because you hadn’t called in a week.”

63. [About a loved one who died by suicide] "This was obviously what she wanted."

64. Someone I work with asked me if it was a good or bad thing my husband had died.

What would you add to the list of worst things to say to someone grieving? Leave a comment with the worst thing someone said to you in your grief or a general tip you have about how to support someone grieving. 

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After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible, real-life book!

What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.

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104 Comments on "64 of the Worst Things Ever Said to a Griever"

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  1. Danny W  September 7, 2023 at 10:34 pm Reply

    Worse thing, I was told not to speak at my dad’s funeral and not to cry. For I am hearing impaired that people won’t understand me. Ridiculous and sad. I was criticized for crying at my dad’s funeral.

  2. Jeana  May 31, 2023 at 6:53 pm Reply

    The worst thing that was said to me was on the day I found out my neice whom I was close to had died. A woman not a part of my family but someone my nephew met in a bar but he never brought home to meet us was infatuated by my nephew before he died tragically as well. It was a fling but she attached herself to my family and sticks her nose in our business and gossips. She said to me that I was acting like a victim when my heart was broken over hearing my neice passed away five days earlier, I was also deeply saddened my family didn’t notify me sooner. I felt so alone and broken hearted and the she said you are playing victim

  3. Rose  April 29, 2023 at 3:54 am Reply

    After my sister’s 44 year old son passed away after a lifetime battle with immune deficiency, a relative asked her “wasn’t there something else that could have been done? After all, it’s the 21st century. With all the research and medications available you’d think there was something that could have prevented his death.” This cruel statement implied that she hadn’t done all that she could when she would have given her own life to save him. It absolutely broke her.

  4. Mary Beth  April 9, 2023 at 10:31 am Reply

    After my husband died of Alzheimer’s, “you will have so much more time to do things.”

  5. jade  January 25, 2023 at 4:41 pm Reply

    An ex friend got angry with me for not liking a certain nicki minaj song. He went completely mental and sensitive over something so small and irrelevant, sending so many paragraphs worth of very angry messages. I ignored his messages cause this was at 1 in the morning and I didn’t have energy for it, and that made him even more mental, so he proceeded to say “f*** you go cry about your dead grandma sad b****” after I just lost my grandma…

  6. Lowell  January 23, 2023 at 12:59 am Reply

    This actually happened to me last week…And I have GOT to get it off my chest…In my small town there is more than one person who loves to be nosey and gossip about others…This is so much more than anything I’ve found so far ..It’s become a nightmare for me..And it’s almost impossible to tell this in a condensed version…This lady called me less than 36 hours after my son’s tragic death…She asked me 4 times how my son died..By the 4th time she was practically begging me to tell her…She never mentioned my son’s name, and she only apologized after I ripped her apart for being rude and nosey…And I hung up on her…She was so angry, she called my son’s mother ,who I’m pretty close with, and told her some very terrible lies …Well, eventually I was able to realize this and in 5 minutes of talking to my ex, she realized I didn’t say these things and the lady was telling lies…Oh, and this lady proceeded to ask my ex 5 ( FIVE) times how my son died…..There is way more to this story than the condensed version here….But the lady basically jumped square into my family and our private business and while we were grieving….I have thought about legal action since it all can be proved ..But I have relatives who think I should let this go…All this lady is going to do is smear my son’s death in my face…And my son doesn’t deserve this…I wish I was big enough that it didn’t bother me, but I feel the need to protect my son ..

  7. Abbie  December 3, 2022 at 6:01 pm Reply

    The worst thing someone said to me was “I felt that way when my grandparents died. “ The day my grandma passed away. Another thing someone said was at the funeral while I’m balling at the casket being rolled away “ you know Jesus wept for Lazarus when he died” oh sure that makes it all better??! Then they had the audacity at the luncheon to pull out reusable plate cutlery and mug! Talk about making assumptions about being fed! So tacky made me so upset what they said and did 😡😡..

  8. Suzanne L Morse  July 12, 2022 at 9:54 pm Reply

    When my 44 year old son died of alcoholism in May 2020, my husband called my ex husband to offer him an opportunity to participate in final arrangements. His response was “Do what you want. You knew he was going to die. I just want my bike back.” My ex then contacted the funeral director to clarify he would not be “paying a F—- dime” )I had paid in full & never asked for his assistance.) The funeral director suggested I not attempt a service, due to Covid & my ex’s aggression.
    My remaining two children never appeared to provide support in any form.
    Eighteen months after my son’s death, I did hear from my son in law. He called to “tell me the truth” He proceeded to annihilate me with unwarranted judgement of my very character. His cruelty was downright sadistic. Seven months later and I’m still reeling from his attack. His closing comment was “I will never attend a memorial service or go to the cemetery. Why would I? To make you happy?”
    In closing, not only have I lost my beloved son to a horrific disease, I can no longer participate in this dance of madness with my remaining children/grandchildren. I’ve endured dismissive gestures for years & just kept on giving, hoping for a change. Clearly, at age 70, it’s time to let them go and live my best life for my remaining years. I am stunned and baffled at their lack of empathy and cruelty.
    With intensive introspective, ongoing therapy, support from my husband and friends I have attained an upright position. A hellish loss was magnified by ignorance and total lack of compassion.

  9. Presh  July 12, 2022 at 5:24 pm Reply

    When I called my brother in law to tell him that my husband had died of Covid, he said to his wife nearby,”here, you talk to her and try to cheer her up”.
    My sister in law was worse, “He was the youngest of 5, I really didn’t live with him very long and only saw him a few times as an adult”.
    Both were not going to be inconvenienced by their brother’s death. Very sad!

  10. KBEKKE  April 14, 2022 at 11:23 pm Reply

    A week after my brother passed, my husband asked, “What are you crying about? You didn’t like him anyway.”

    • Barbara Stratton  June 21, 2022 at 8:21 am Reply

      After my boyfriend passed suddenly, a friend told me that nobody liked him anyway.

  11. SAF  September 14, 2021 at 2:18 pm Reply

    Time, you will heal in time, give it time, time heals all wounds, in time you will feel differently, you need time, take time to let the changes settle and you will see the possibilities.

    Time is just that time and when you lose something, when something is taken from you, time is the measure of length in which you have to suffer, nothing less.

    Recently I lost someone and I felt it so deeply, I could not breathe you don’t forget it and you don’t get over it you live with the measure of pain it dealt you until you run out of time.

  12. Trinity  September 3, 2021 at 12:23 pm Reply

    There are so many jaw-dropping, insensitive things here but I will add this well-intended one that actually made things feel worse… anything along the lines of good vibes for healing, stay positive, etc. after grief is shared. Grief is already difficult. Less support over time is more difficult. Then sharing grief again is more difficult and to have it minimized by these phrases just feels embarrassing and hurtful and the griever is still just left in pain but feeling more alone and misunderstood. Grief has moments of worth but it also has many moments of darkness and just trying to get through the latest wave. When someone reaches out, it’s because they need you to hear them and honor their pain.

  13. Michelle  May 30, 2021 at 4:37 pm Reply

    I recieved this comment many times from people who said they would reach out but didn’t after my mom passed. Running into them they sprouted this gem, ” I was thinking of you but I just wanted to give you time.” It’s not like I caught leprosy.

  14. Chani Elkin  February 1, 2021 at 1:33 am Reply

    I’m Jewish and grew up religious, so number 34 ‘God doesn’t give more than you can handle’ hit hard – I’ve heard that so often.

    Also, my mother passed away in November 2014. It affected my sisters more – or more publicly at least. We have what’s called ‘shiva’ – a week of mourning after the funral. I spent the weekend at home and then flew to New York to be there for my older sister.

    While I was in New York, my sister was stuck dealing with all the community women who came (dad with males, because ‘modesty’ separation). One person moved around pictures on our mantel and piano while talking.

    My mom was a preschool (toddler) teacher and very much beloved by the community. One woman told my sister “She was a great co-worker and teacher. You can’t possibly understand what a loss her death is and how much we’re grieving.” Those were both during the mourning period.

    Mine was a few months later – I only visited the hospital a couple times (mom ended up in a coma for a month or so). That was due to taking charge of the house – feeding pet, laundry, meals, etc. Someone told me that I was selfish and heartless for not seeming/being more ‘publicly sad’ and I should feel more guilty for not having visited the hospital more often.

  15. Lynette Stevenson  August 28, 2020 at 5:35 am Reply

    After coming back to work, I was asked by my boss “if I had rejoined the land of the living ?”
    Another boss at another time of loss, absolutely said nothing at all as if absolutely nothing had happened.
    Another time a Supervisor said “the ambulance guys told me she threw herself in to your swimming pool” on the suicide of my grandmother.
    People in work environments need to be educated on what not to say.

  16. Lynette Stevenson  August 28, 2020 at 5:27 am Reply

    After coming back to work, I was asked by my boss “if I had rejoined the land of the living ?”

  17. Jillian Howard  August 19, 2020 at 10:45 pm Reply

    I send my condolences and love to that poor parent who lost their 20 year old daughter! I feel horrible that someone would say they understand because of their dog!!! How awful! People take that shit too far with their pets and I get angry too!!! The worst was the foreign lady who married my dad for her green card and right before they got divorced, he died and she found out she’s getting only half of everything so she said why should I get the other half because we got into an argument once so I clearly didn’t love him while I’m grieving my dad beyond belief.

  18. Annette  June 8, 2020 at 2:50 pm Reply

    My dear Dad died this past Feb. 22nd, right before the pandemic hit hard. I am tired of hearing “at least he didn’t have to go through this” or “can you imagine what might have happened now?’ As if it was a preconceived thing that he would get the virus. My dad was comfortably in at home hospice, being cared by a team of what I call his “angels”. So no, I don’t buy the innuendo that he probably would have died from COVID.

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  20. سوییچ صنعتی  November 7, 2019 at 11:50 am Reply

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  21. song  September 7, 2019 at 10:55 am Reply

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  22. mary  August 24, 2019 at 3:18 pm Reply

    This post and its companion piece 64 of the best things said are spot on.

    Besides people saying nothing, or intrepid souls asking “how are you.” to which i have taken to responding, that’s a loaded question… I have gotten some doozies. The most stunning — the president of the board of the organization where I work called my boss to scream at her that he should have been informed after my husband committed suicide (like that has any bearing on the company?) — and yet 6 weeks later, he has yet to reach out and offer condolences…i have worked with him for the past 5 years.

    And, one woman who knew my husband had died commented that I had lost a lot of weight…I said, yes, I’ve hardly been able to eat in about 6 weeks…to which she replied, “silver lining!” REALLY? I would rather be 100 pounds overweight and still have my spouse and my daughter still have her father…

  23. Alexa  August 20, 2019 at 1:24 am Reply

    I had one relative ask me two days after the death of my grandfather if she could move into his apartment and explained to me how expensive it is to live in her current place. This same relative told me that “for sure” the reason why my grandfather had a heart attack was the fact that he opened the window and the heat came in. Note that he only opened the window because it was already night and needed fresh air and by then it was not hot outside. Another relative said she cannot come to the funeral because she is having the house painted and also told me that my grandfather “shouldn’t have gone to the spa a few days before he died because that’s what killed him”. I explained that he only went for two hours in the morning because his feet hurt and the thermal water helped. Another relative said to me he is not coming to the funeral because my mother will be there and started laughing about the fact that I “needed to go”. I couldn’t believe my ears. That same relative told me that probably my grandpa died because he was in too much pain after the loss of my grandma two and a half years ago and that we all die and that at least “he lived longer that the average”. All these mean things hurt me and it makes it more difficult to heal. I am so angry and disappointed with people.

  24. Laura  August 15, 2019 at 11:50 am Reply

    I unexpectedly lost my mom in 2018, which has been the most gut wrenching horrendous experience of my life. As is the case for most of us grieving, I am still trying to learn how to live this new life without her. Every day is a battle. Today, one of my coworkers was “kind” enough to compare my return to work “grief fog” and devastation to a new coworker’s “new job confusion”! I’m so shocked that anyone could minimize my grief in such a dismissive way! So unbelievably hurtful. No matter how much you try to accept that most other people don’t truly understand how this grief and loss feels, comments like this are like the biggest sucker punch to the soul. Sending out strength to all you other grievers.

    • Georgia  August 17, 2019 at 10:18 pm Reply

      your coworker is a clueless idiot! Bless you!

  25. Chel  July 27, 2019 at 3:23 am Reply

    My brother took his own life almost 7 years ago and I still feel it deep in my soul. We were very close and I feel the guilt of not ‘knowing’ every day. He didn’t tell anyone and was smiling in a photo taken the day before. My mum and I are estranged. She and my dad disowned me a few months before he passed and my mum’s mother stood above my mum (who was crying in the hallway and just sort of slumped to the floor because I think it just hit her in that moment, literally the day before his funeral) and said to my mum “get up [my mum’s name], you’re embarrassing yourself.” I swear, I don’t know how I didn’t, but I nearly punched her in the nose.
    Her husband said to me the day after his funeral, “you’ll get over it soon enough, it’s not that bad” because his twin brother had been dying since the mid-80s and passed about 3 months before my brother. I was seething so I told him that he had his brother for 60 years and one day I’ll look back and realize I didn’t get to see him for the last 60 years. Boy, that went down well. Not.
    The other major one was that I didn’t get along with my parents, but up until this point I had assumed my siblings and I were OK. On the day of the viewing, my siblings paired off to go see my brother’s casket. (I have 2 sisters and 2 living brothers) So my eldest sister and youngest brother went up together, and my big brother and other older sister went up together and for the lobgest stretch of time imaginable I stood there waiting and looked at my siblings one-by-one and each of them turned away from me. I was shattered. I spent time calling them every day making sure they were talking and eating and sleeping, listening to them cry and chat and helped them. My entire time back at my parent’s town I waited on them hand and foot and made sure to feed them and check on them. Teas, coffees, water, shoulder to cry on. I got nothing back. My “best friend” came to the funeral and had me consoling her, she who ‘forgot about him!’ (plus my emotions). Then I just stopped calling and checking in on them after I got no emotional support, and you better believe I got the blame for my brother’s suicide, and the blame for “not checking in anymore and you are so selfish!” And then when I finally cried at an “inappropriate moment” (just under a month after he died) I got told “you need to see a therapist because you are way too upset about this!” (My mother, father and every single one of my siblings, my nan and my “best friend” all gave me an ‘intervention’ to tell me that).

  26. Denise walker  June 28, 2019 at 8:25 am Reply

    I lost my you gest son just 13 weeks ago. Sam had severe disabities and daily health challenges but because of us his close famy he lived a very full life and was much liked by all those who took the ti.e to get to know him. I identify so much with many of the stories here and to all of you i say firstly i am so very sorry for your loss and your pain. Thank you for having the courage to share so honestly the says you have been treated. I am sorry too for the cruelty and gross insensitivity of those who have said and done tvese unhelpful things. Thank you though for through your sharing of your pain i feel validated. I dont know why most people are so crap at support but it is my lived experience. I have an older disabled son that together with my husband and daughter we are struggli g to care and support him. My daughter was like a second mother to my son Sam. No one has stepped up and even the peopke who we emoy to support our lads need support from me! Im in chezhire uk. Anyond signpost me to groups here? Thanks and my love genuinely sent to you through your strugglez.struggles.

    • Sue Worsley  March 18, 2021 at 7:54 pm Reply

      Hi Denise, I too am in the UK and a bereaved parent like you. I’m sorry that I’ve only just seen your comment and its been nearly 2 years since you commented but, hope you see this. I can relate to all you say and I do so hope you have found some support since you posted(?) – it is such a lonely and isolating grief and loss. There IS support out there, though, and here is one of the most vital ones I have found:-
      The Compassionate Friends UK, which you can also find on Facebook as well as having their own website.
      Social Media (Facebook specifically) also have various groups which are a God-send for us bereaved parents, too (namely Grieving Mother’s UK), which you will find helpful or may already have found(?) – you will also be able to find me through these links.
      I hope that helps and you see this even after all this time. Sending you my love and empathy and a gentle, understanding hug.

  27. Anna  June 7, 2019 at 9:54 pm Reply

    “You are overplaying the widow part” after I lost my boyfriend

  28. Lindsey  May 31, 2019 at 9:56 am Reply

    I broke my ankle last October and lost my mother to colon cancer four days later, couldn’t get to the funeral because of the break. Then in May, my brother took his own life. My mother and my brother are the two family members I loved (love?) the most. There’s estrangement elsewhere in the family.

    Describing the person who has passed as having “demons.” This has been said to me multiple times and it infuriates me each time. !!!

    Someone had the audacity to ask me “what’s going to happen next?” WTF is wrong with people?! Just because you think it doesn’t mean you have to say it!

    This may just be me (I haven’t read all the comments) but I dislike it when people ask me how I’m doing. I really don’t like reflecting on how I’m doing at random times and typically with random people. I’ve started saying “Good but I’m lying” when I want to escape the question. I made a request on Facebook that when folks reach out to me, they keep it secular and don’t ask me how I’m doing. So far, so good – online anyway.

  29. LuluPot  May 25, 2019 at 8:06 am Reply

    Its been 7 1/2years since I found my son’s body hanging in his room. The years passed, I’ve dealt with the grief, yet at the same time I still remember those hurtful remarks as if it was said yesterday. In fact, people think that the bereaved doesn’t remember, not realizing that every stupid remark gets burned into your soul.

    As I came out of the church after the memorial service, a ‘friend’ was waiting outside and said that “she only goes to funerals to see the reaction of the family members” and shared a story where another mom wanted to jump into the grave with her son’s coffin. Why on earth does people say things like this to a newly bereaved parent??

    A couple of months later the pastor said that “only members of the police and army gets PTSD”. His face said that I was just looking for sympathy and was exaggerating. I never spoke to him again. As we all know, mind- or grief-fog is very real and this single remark kept me from reaching out for professional help for another year. Not his fault I know, but I was unable to break free from the invisible chain.

    And a family member who had a book of stupid things to say, said that “she understood how I felt because her dog died”. I wanted to rip her tongue out.

    • J  July 12, 2022 at 5:41 pm Reply

      I’m so sorry how those stupid comments hurt you. I had someone hope I wasn’t alone (after my husband passed) (who did they think I would be with?!) and someone suggested they meant, did you get a pet, like a pet could replace my husband! People are so rude!

  30. mary  May 23, 2019 at 2:56 pm Reply

    A long time friend, upon hearing of my husbands death, called me and said she was sorry but there wasn’t anything to do to help me. Oh and by the way, we are going to a cruise, so we won’t be able to be there, but we’ll be thinking about you

    • J  July 12, 2022 at 5:43 pm Reply

      Mary, at least they didn’t ask you to get their mail while they were gone. People are just horrible when it comes to empathy!

  31. Linda  May 23, 2019 at 10:12 am Reply

    A pastor of one of the largest churches in my town said my 3 year old daughter (killed in a rollover in which I was the driver and was later sued by her father for her death) might have grown up to be a prostitute or on drugs, and that was why she was killed. He then went on to say I could choose to be ‘bitter or better.’ Comments from others here show me how truly depraved we are as a society to comfort one another in their time of grief. Horrifying!

    • LuluPot  May 25, 2019 at 7:34 am Reply


  32. Virginia S. Wood  May 23, 2019 at 8:58 am Reply

    I know this is an old conversation, but I only just found it so forgive me.

    The two worst comments I had, my husband was actually still alive! One of his friends, within earshot of my Jody’s hospice bed, asked if I was going to sell his pickup truck and, if so, could he buy it? How much would I want for it? &c.

    Another (or maybe it was the same guy–it’s all so blurred together now) said I should go on a cruise, “make some new friends.” I was so gobsmacked by that one that all I could think was, how do you make friends with people you will never see again because you’re from all over the dang country?? My husband was not dead yet on that occasion, either, but was within a week or 10 days of it, still conscious and (sometimes) lucid, still needing his friends. And they’re not only already moving on in their own heads, but encouraging me to!

    Five years later, I’m still driving the truck. I would drive it into the ground before I let that guy have it.

  33. Denise Foust Brown  May 23, 2019 at 8:42 am Reply

    My husband passed January 3,2019 suddenly two days before my 64th Birthday. I had a friend tell me”It’s been 5 months!” We have no children and I am alone. I went to his service alone which by the way was awful. I came home alone to a dark and empty house.I was never consulted on anything. Was asked to stand and be happy and sing “When the Saints Come Marching In”. Would never have agreed to that. It was the worst experience. I have stayed in this house alone. No one has stayed with me. I am very lonely and I miss him everyday. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to endure.
    One woman who I thought was a friend told me just last week who lost her husband to a long illness to just”suck it up” when I asked her how to get through this. At least she had time to prepare and say goodbye. I didn’t get that opportunity. I watched him pass in operating room after being taken off the ventilator. He was a donor. Other “friends” don’t even acknowledge his passing when I run into them. That hurts and I feel they disrespect my husband and me. He was a kind and giving man and I miss him every second.

    • Michele Martindill, Ph.D.  May 23, 2019 at 11:14 am Reply

      My husband of 41 years died suddenly in October 2018 just before my birthday, too. We had no children and I have no family. I am alone. His two older brothers and one sister-in-law swooped in and had my husband cremated, told me to sell my house and move into a Section 8 retirement apartment and make all sorts of changes–all without knowing me or my financial circumstances. I had so-called friends say, “I’m watching you to see how NOT to be a widow.” And then they laughed in my face. I’m only 65, a Ph.D. and physically fit, but I’ve been treated like an imbecile. Just when I start feeling better or have a good day, someone will say, “You’re not healed.” What does that even mean? Another widow said, “You’ll never get over it.” Really? Then should I give up and quit living? This past week was our wedding anniversary and I was feeling very alone when a friend said, “You’re strong. You’ll be fine.” What? I don’t feel strong at all. Then I realized people drop into my life to deliver these cliches about widows and then, feeling they’ve done their job as friends, and then they disappear. They ask me what I need, but never help. I need names of electricians, air conditioning service companies and someone who can be hired to clean my garage. Not one friend has stepped forward to help, but one flippantly said, “My husband does all that stuff.” Gee, thanks. I’ve dumped all these so-called friends. They make being alone worse than it has to be.

      • Denise Foust Brown  May 24, 2019 at 6:41 am

        I feel so alone until I read these comments. I’m so sorry for everyone’s pain. People can be so unbelievably stupid. I had a “ breakdown” last night just realizing there is NO ONE to listen or be there for me. It’s scary emotionally and financially. I’m just lost because I have also lost my best friend. The one who knows me. I get the same. “You’re so strong.” I’m not . I’m doing what I have to do to survive. I hope we will all be in less pain one day. I’m so sorry for your pain. I guess we are not so alone.

    • Tamara  May 26, 2019 at 2:37 am Reply

      Please accept my offer of sincere condolences on the recent passing of your husband. My husband passed away two years and three months ago. When your spouse dies, your best friend, cherished love, all that is right in your world just stops. It just stops and the term surviving spouse is an understatement for what lays ahead. The state of crisis and devastation is very real and I can only suggest or encourage you to seek out support through a grief group. It’s only a suggestion and I am responding because your loss of your husband resonates with me all too well. I did eventually find a grief support group I felt comfortable with after trying several different groups.. Grief writing workshops helped somewhat too. My heart aches for your pain. For everyone’s pain here. The terrible insensitivity, the idiotic comments, requests, assumptions, intrusions, abandonment, the critics with judgement and some with a severe lack of insight into themselves, well, they just aren’t capable of compassion or empathy. A small wonder we armor up for social events.
      Try to remember we can politely say, ” Your opinions regarding the loss of my ______ are neither required nor desired.” Another polite effort aimed at the heartless and thoughtless, ” I don’t recall you ever asking to borrow my shoes, yet you seem to know all about it.” It is a club that no one wants to belong to and there isn’t anyone out there that truly gets it if they haven’t been through it. That’s a fact. I am the first one to be widowed in the arena of my family, friends, in-laws. I like to think that all of the good parts of me still exist. However, I am forever changed. I can’t help but cut quick to the chase when any of my married friends, family or acquaintances says something that I know they would never ever say if they had suffered losing their spouse. I just say, ” Imagine if it were your husband/wife___ ____ .” ( a look of horror and fear passes through their eyes as your comment sinks in),,, Once I’ve said it, I don’t give them a chance to speak to it. I certainly don’t want to listen to how awful they think that would be for their unique selves. I simply say, ” Someone’s going to be left behind…..” Then I give them a knowing look, excuse myself and find a more pleasant conversation elsewhere.
      So be it. They deserve to hear that moment of truth. May they tread more softly with the next suffering grieving human being they approach.
      We all know it’s not truly their fault if they have never been through it; they just don’t get it. I try to be understanding, but I’ve been in this long enough to recognize someone on the other side that needs to try harder.

      Be gentle and kind to yourself Denise. My heart truly goes out to you. I am sending you lovely thoughts of warm and supportive hugs, a hand to hold and a shoulder to console your inconsolable heart. xx
      Blessings, love and light to you all.

  34. Emma  April 27, 2019 at 6:46 am Reply

    A few hours after my mothers death I received a text message from a family friend saying “she’s at peace now and it’s time for you to be too”. Like, really, hours after my mother dies without getting to see her or say goodbye, is that REALLY the time for me to be at peace? People also seem to think it’s ok to tell me what she would want me to do or how she would want me to act and I would really like people who have no idea what they are talking about to stop putting words in my mothers mouth. Thanks.

  35. J Stein  April 15, 2019 at 7:51 pm Reply

    My mother, who hadn’t talked to my younger brother for a few years, and saw me about once a year, told me she was sure that I somehow drove my brother to his death.

  36. Laurie  April 6, 2019 at 3:06 pm Reply

    When my mum died a work colleague said to me, ‘I know exactly how you feel, I had to have my cat put down last week.’

  37. Magpie  March 28, 2019 at 11:08 am Reply

    Within 3 weeks of my mother’s death and after I cared for her in her home for over a decade, an out-of-state relative called me and asked that now that my mother was gone and would no longer be occupying a room in our beach timeshare could she and her husband come there and have a beach vacation. At the same time, I was told they would not be coming to my mother’s service because they could not afford the travel expenses.

    A different relative at the service told me that my mother is “now in a better place.”

    Thank you for giving me a place to vent.

  38. Rosie Gagnon  March 17, 2019 at 4:48 pm Reply

    “Do you think he regrets what he did, now that he’s on the other side?” a friend from church after the funeral of my 23 yr old son, who died by suicide.

    • Mom  May 24, 2019 at 2:11 pm Reply

      I am so sorry for the loss of your son and then having to listen to such a horrible comment. People can be so ignorant. My son died from a drug overdose and a relative actually said well remember how much pain he caused you at times. He was given fentanyl and I can guarantee he did not know what it was. And why she chose to say that just floored me. I isolate myself now. I don’t even want to be around people. My heart grieves for you and all the others who have lost a child. I pray 24/7 for all of us as I know it is a pain that we will live with until we see our children again. And I again am so sorry for the loss of your son.

  39. Julie  March 6, 2019 at 9:53 pm Reply

    After I went back to work after a leave of absence a coworker, out of the blue, looked at me and said, “You’re so pretty; I don’t know why ANYONE would want to leave you!?!” My husband had committed suicide. Another coworker just had to comment about the fact I had lost “SO much weight” upon my return to work. Neither comments were helpful to me, needless to say!

  40. Maria  February 8, 2019 at 2:02 pm Reply

    My mom died 2 weeks today of heart arrhythmia days after her 2nd operation (after 2 rounds of chemo) to take a tumor out of her pancreas. My cousin, a holistic wellness counsellor, did not have the decency to wait even 1 whole month to post one of those articles on juicing and how it shrinks and/or removes tumors. While I do not dispute the benefits of juicing, I called him out on his horrible timing. His answer was not “I’m sorry” or an offer to take down the article. He wrote me a long message implying that she should have listened to his advice and taken better care of herself. I have spent decades standing up for this man-child and rooting for him when he didn’t deserve it. So did my mother, since the day he was born. He thinks that we should learn from her death, make it a teachable moment. So far, I have learned that the silence without my mother in the world is deafening. And that he can F right off then go straight to hell. Needless to say, he’s lost me as his ally and I don’t know if I’ll ever speak to him again. Here’s a teachable moment: don’t ever tell a cancer patient or the patient’s survivors that she could have avoided her own sickness and death if she’d only listened.

  41. Nina HOCKING  January 24, 2019 at 3:31 pm Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear these painful experiences you guys. I guess we just have to understand that these people are so unprepared or scared of death that they just can’t help. Huge hugs to you all. Xxx

    • LuluPot  May 25, 2019 at 7:42 am Reply

      One particular family members kept on calling with ‘advice’ and I could swear she had a handbook with all the things that one should not say. When I mentioned this to our pastor (I was really p!$$*d at her) he said that she is only trying to comfort me and I should not be angry because she is trying to help.

      Personally, I don’t think that ignorance should be tolerated, especially as I made her aware of it that she causes more emotional pain and isn’t helpful at all.

  42. Frances B Brown  January 22, 2019 at 4:46 pm Reply

    My husband was riding a Harley, when he was killed by a hit and run driver from behind. Someone said to me “At least he died doing what he liked best”. Is that supposed to make me feel better about this?

  43. Scotch  January 14, 2019 at 2:58 pm Reply

    Three days after the death of our mother my sister told me I was like a stone and to stop being serious!

  44. Jeanette  December 28, 2018 at 10:37 am Reply

    At my husband’s visitation I had a widow come up to me, look me in the eyes and say, “It is so hard to lose your husband”. Then several people later, yet another widow came up to me, looked me in the eye and said nearly the exact same thing. Thanks ladies, just what I wanted to hear!
    Best was at the reception after the funeral. A childhood friend came up to me, sat me down and proceeded to tell me how strong I was and that I would get through this, that I could do this. I didn’t know then how much I would need those words of encouragement. Along with that were the many people who didn’t even try to speak but just hugged me and cried with me.

    • Sherry  February 6, 2019 at 8:37 pm Reply

      So interesting that we had the same things said to us, and such different emotions in response. I have felt connected to other wives who understood the depth of loss that I was feeling. And when people complimented my strength, suggesting that I could get through anything, I felt abandoned, and expected to survive my loss without their support. I make no suggestion that either of us could change how we felt or perceived what was the “worst”, only that communication and connection are so very complicated at times of grief, pain and loss.

  45. Grace M  December 26, 2018 at 8:12 pm Reply

    The worst thing I heard was 24 hrs after my husband passed away…my best girlfriend called and upon hearing my obviously grief-stricken voice asked me if I was drunk…that one statement tore through my core…friendship ended after several other insensitive interactions of her comparing my loss to her marriage ending in separation…so so sad…I lost my husband and my best girlfriend in that year…

  46. Claire  December 25, 2018 at 12:08 am Reply

    After my beloved teenage son died I spent weeks trying to find the perfect urn for his ashes as I wanted it to be as special as he was and didn’t want one that looked like an urn or a vase if that makes sense but my mother actually told me not to bother going to so much effort as she was sure that they just threw all the bodies into the fire together at the end of the day and gave everyone a container of mixed up ashes. This is her grandson she is talking about and it still upsets me everyday day now thinking about this.

    • Trinity  September 3, 2021 at 10:15 am Reply

      Ethically, a family has to receive their family member’s ashes so these are done separately. I hope this will bring you some peace and comfort.

  47. lesley deehan  December 20, 2018 at 6:54 am Reply

    Was called a drama queen by family on my daughters 30th Birthday this year, 13years ago I lost my 16 yr old daughter i can’t get over what they said to me I feel so alone

  48. Tina Morgan  December 8, 2018 at 8:41 am Reply

    I am so very sorry for all of you who were told the most insensitive things. I could never imagine saying anything close to what these people said. There has been times when I didn’t know what to say and I have said the wrong things. I remember asking my Mother n Law if she would be alright to drive home from work after her dad died and she lost it. I said that I was sorry but she was very upset and I was worried for her safety. I think maybe the best thing to say sometimes is that you are sorry and just leave it at that. I thought my sisters were bad by not showing up at the hospital while Mom was dying and the whole time she was sick not wanting to help me take care of errands and her dog. I think the thing that has hurt me the most was the only time I have heard from them since we cleaned out her apartment was for them to try and find out when they would get the money that she left them. My Mom was the only person I could trust out of my two sisters and her and now I am left without her. It’s just been so hard knowing that but I think if you have toxic people in your life it’s better if they just stay away. I do have a wonderful husband and four loving children and for that I am grateful. I think the worst thing I have been told was that I was making my grief an idol. It had been a month.

  49. May O'Brian  November 28, 2018 at 11:21 am Reply

    “Are you really sad about him, or are you just sad you watched someone die?”

    After apologizing that I didn’t have it in me this year and that we were busy dealing with the estate and being with family,
    “It’s been a week. I think it would be good for you to come over and decorate my house for Christmas for me”

  50. Sue Doe Nimus  November 19, 2018 at 5:43 am Reply

    This wasn’t a bad thing to say in a clumsy attempt to help. This was a horrible mess that nobody expected.
    I was working on the midnight shift on a cardiac unit, when there were two new admissions coming to the unit. They were assigned to the same room. When the 2nd patient was wheeled into the room the 2 women recognized each other. The person in “bed 2: was the mother of the boy who had murdered the daughter of the woman in bed 1.

    This is why I campaign for all private rooms.

  51. Joanne  November 15, 2018 at 4:40 pm Reply

    Three weeks after my husband died I was told by a close relative to “cheer up”. Two weeks later the same relative told me that “no-one wants to be around someone who’s permanently miserable”
    Five months on, I’ve learned to put on a brave face, lie through my teeth and tell people I’m doing ok, because it’s what THEY need to hear – it’s exhausting!

  52. Heather  November 15, 2018 at 11:55 am Reply

    One month after my father died, I was crying and my (now ex)husband said, “you’re not the only person who lost someone.” He died in 1996 and I still remember those painful words. It’s been a year today since I lost my mother and I am posting about my father seems unusual, but there it is.

  53. Maddie Berk  November 5, 2018 at 1:18 pm Reply

    I was speaking to a co-worker recently of my brave and beautiful younger sister who remained hopeful and positive throughout her year long cancer journey. I told of how she encouraged me and all of her friends, as we rallied around her with positivity. I related feeling sure that all of the love, hope and positive outlook gave her the strength to keep going as long and as well as she did. Suddenly my boss chimed in with “yeah but she ended up dying anyway.” I felt as if my heart had been deflated by her piercing words. I will never understand how people can be so cruel when we are most vulnerable. My sweet sister would say “just ignore them, and be glad you are not them.”

  54. Nancy  November 5, 2018 at 10:20 am Reply

    Days after my husband’s funeral in August, I received a note of advice from someone I barely know and have never corresponded with. She’s a widow (I HATE that word; don’t use it when speaking to a new one – or ever if you can avoid it!) of several years. Among her words of advice: “The second year is harder than the first one.” Even it that were true, why on earth would you say that to someone who is dealing with making it to the next day – and sometimes just to the next hour… She concluded the note: “there will always be a hole in your heart.” I have received other bits of unsolicited advice (and I’m finished with just being polite and listening. Next person who tries it, look out!) But this note should never have been written.

    • SlowSnail  January 26, 2019 at 1:20 am Reply

      The timing of that lady’s remarks was insensitive.
      And I hate to add a “but” here – but (and I hope this comment doesn’t bother you) – there is some truth to what she’s saying, for many who go through grief.

      I was extremely close to my mother, and for the first six months after my mother died, I was in a state of shock and didn’t feel a lot – but once that shock wore off, the emotions hit, and indeed, the second and third years were the hardest.

      Not only do the emotions (the sadness and so on) kick in, but you start missing your loved one at holidays and birthdays and such.

      And any support you had at all initially, such as cards of calls, dries up totally after the first few weeks or months, so you have to get through the holidays and stuff all alone.

    • Trinity  September 3, 2021 at 10:21 am Reply

      With our society so ready to make grief disappear (at least that anyone else is aware of it), I can understand where the woman’s comments came from but that is hard to hear in the early days of grief. It definitely seems like a needed message as people are nearing the anniversary when others have started to pretend nothing happened and that the griever is over the loss.

  55. BB  October 30, 2018 at 7:15 am Reply

    My brother (age 29) passed away last week after a long struggle with addiction. I’ve had multiple people ask me (his 27 year old sister) what drug ended up killing him. Seriously. People are so insensitive.

  56. Carolyn Tichenor  October 29, 2018 at 5:37 pm Reply

    I was told at his funeral, when I was talking to one of his friends, (who approached me to offer his condolences)…are you leaving with him?
    His sister wanted to know if I had found a date.

  57. Angela Foley  October 29, 2018 at 6:13 am Reply

    I have heard so many of those things ,number 53 was the worse, I was told 9 weeks after she passed I needed to think about other people ….. That was because I couldn’t attend one of there family functions.
    However , I can top that 6 weeks after she died I was asked through a text for some of her ashes as this lady wanted to have a tattoo…
    But, the one that truly floored me was a picture of my daughter in another mother’s arms on the first mother’s day . I drove to a cliff to drive off of it the pain was almost worse than the day I lost her …. They could not see why I was upset .
    I cut myself off the whole of that family..

  58. NickyG  October 25, 2018 at 7:17 am Reply

    My father told me ‘this is your life now, best get used to it’. I had been widowed less than 24 hrs. I had expected more from him as he only lost his wife of 50yrs two years previously..he found somone else less than 4 months after she passed and I never judged him but his response to my loss was just so cold

  59. Morgan Morgan  October 16, 2018 at 11:49 pm Reply

    I was told by an in-law that my 31 year old sister died from cancer because “she didn’t have a fighting personality.”

  60. Ashley  October 15, 2018 at 3:31 am Reply

    My dad and I had a turbulent relationship as he and my mother did not get along and had a messy divorce. A decade later and as we were just starting to develop a relationship, my dad passed away very unexpectedly in his sleep. After the service his new wife’s son in law turned to me with a smirk and sarcastically said “Aww, life’s rough.”

  61. Vicki  October 4, 2018 at 5:37 am Reply

    Ours was murdered (yes, murdered) on September 11.
    You don’t want to know the worst things people have said to us. The first damn day it happened, there was a guy going around saying it happened bc we were greedy with money and this was our consequences for it. I don’t even like that statement now but the first damn day it happens and this person is saying that?
    When his mom spoke for the New York Times memorial, she didn’t even feel like she could say he’d made Vice-president at 29, bc of all the peopled who’d been making that freakin’ statement. She talked abt him playing football in high school instead of his most recent accomplishments and said he was a really motivated person because he had to prove himself. I just don’t understand what the hell kind of person says that to someone when they know beforehand (and this person did) that you know someone who died.

    Another person told me that the way he died “was so embarrassing God didn’t let him into Heaven.” That person was supposed to be a professional counselor talking on a crisis line that had been set up in New York City.
    I had no response to that & kept it to myself for 12 years.

    Other people just run away from you when they find out you knew an ACTUAL murder victim & didn’t just watch it on TV or the movies. They’ll talk to you all day long about murder victims in entertainment but if they hear you actually knew a homicide victim, they run.

  62. GaryB  October 1, 2018 at 11:56 pm Reply

    My God those are all horrible. But for me now going on 2 months after my wife passed away from cancer. the silence from her entire family is what hurts. We asked in lieu of flowers please donate to hospice in her memory and I see nothing from her family! To me thats an insult and I have said- “see honey” look at what we asked for -for YOU and the only ones who did donate were friends and family from our son in laws side- not yours”. It hurts! What hurts more is that any gifts in her memory go towards an engraving of her name on a monument to celebrate her life at the hospice facility where she passed. I will be paying the total cost gladly but when giving family members the chance to join in ? Nothing- Yes that does hurt- not financially- but when the envelopes come and say “your loved one has been remembered by”…and not one from her family she so loved and did so much for as an Aunt? Yeah that hurts.

  63. Andrea Zadunaisky  September 29, 2018 at 1:36 pm Reply

    One of the worst I’ve been told was, it’s better to be a widow than divorced…

  64. Jennifer  September 27, 2018 at 8:45 am Reply

    I thought I had honestly heard it all until recently. While having no deep rooted religious beliefs ourselves, out of respect to his mother, and the assistance of Hospice, he spoke to a priest the week before he died. I have no idea what was said as I took refuge at Starbucks and gave them their privacy. Well turns out, it was not a Catholic Priest. Now that his mother has uncovered this, she is telling everyone that I have solely put her son’s salvation in jeopardy and she is rallying the alter society to try and save his sole from the damnation and performing all sorts of rituals to save him. I’ve heard some hurtful things through this experience, but I must say this one has taken me back a bit.

    The man I love is gone, I’ve spent two years being his sole caregiver and this year I have spent every waking moment taking care of his estate, his corporation, his affairs alone… I just can’t catch a break from this woman. I have never looked for accolades, but being labeled as the one who has destroyed his ever lasting peace – is a bit more than I can handle right now.

  65. Kara  September 26, 2018 at 8:59 am Reply

    My dad died tragically and unexpectedly two weeks ago on vacation with my mom. At first I got calls and texts constantly, and now, nothing. I know it hasn’t been that long, but the silence is almost as hurtful as the wrong words spoken.

  66. Cindy W  September 23, 2018 at 1:07 pm Reply

    After my mother died from pancreatic cancer, I found the question “How old was she?” to be painful. As if the person asking was going to make a judgement call on whether she’d had a long enough life. I found the response “She was old enough to be my mom.” therapeutic for me, and got the point across to the asker that it didn’t matter how old she was.

  67. Catherine  September 18, 2018 at 1:39 am Reply

    I lost my father August 27. He hit his head in a fall and died of a massive brain bleed.
    Wost: “This too shall pass.”
    “I never understood why your father did not help you as much as he helped me”
    “Be strong”
    “Wish I had known that about your father earlier. I would have held him in higher regard”
    I’m amazed at how quickly people who you thought were your friends expect you to just pick up and move on.

  68. Finn  September 17, 2018 at 12:30 pm Reply

    I got 59 – u can replace them! about a beloved pet & had to be removed from that clueless bastard’s presence…. I think if I ever hear that phrase again no matter who it’s about ain’t nothin gonna hold me back again. There’s definitely gonna be some sort of smacking happening!

  69. Mary  September 16, 2018 at 12:15 pm Reply

    Soon after my husband died suddenly, my mom and I were talking about it. She actually told me she was glad it was me (that it happened to) and not her. I was speechless that she would callously say something like that. Of course I would never be glad for the same to happen to her plus I would lose my dad in the process. Why on earth would she be glad about something so devastating happening to her daughter? Hurtful!

  70. Barb  September 15, 2018 at 2:52 pm Reply

    I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child. My heart goes out to everyone.
    In a different vein, after the suicide of a genuinely beautiful, loved, respected friendfrom my graduating class (’80), people were understandably shocked. I was very sad, but understood a bit more. One comment that I still can’t wrap my head around: “this has shaken me to my core. How could this happen? We all grew up together and were cut from the same cloth.” (by a LCSW). I don’t know for certain, but suspect it was AD withdrawal (plus significant life stressors).

    I lost my only sibling to cancer in July. We didn’t have a good relationship and it wasn’t a secret. Even I am surprised at the complicated grief I’m experiencing. After opening up to some close friends about it, they still said “well, you didn’t like her, so you shouldn’t be grieving” and refused to visit (10 miles away) or call, stating that they were too busy. Messages of unsolicited advice were plentiful, however. not
    Iwill soon be the last of my family. No kids, nieces, nephews, career (disabled by Zoloft). Nobody comprehends the existential angst and isolation or attempts to.

    People have great power to help simply with their presence, but everyone wants to FIX things, advise, move on from the discomfort. Some things can’t be fixed.

  71. Louise McOrmond-Plummer  September 14, 2018 at 6:23 pm Reply

    This is going to be a cranky rant:

    Some of the things above are stupid and thoughtless, and some of them are so jaw-droppingly awful one has to wonder if people are actually trying to be assholes. I am so sorry you’ve had to hear these things. I know we often hear that people say the wrong things because they’re well-intentioned and just uncomfortable, so we should be tolerant. I think that can be true sometimes, but I also think there’s a time for telling people when they’re bang out of order. We don’t always have room to consider people who are plainly not considering us. Telling people how they should feel is NEVER a good idea.

    The worst statements, for me, are those that try to “correct” your grief – i.e. “At least you had 30 years” (and the unspoken part is, “So stop being sad”). We feel inadequate and confused, and wonder if there is something wrong with the way we’re grieving. But what is wrong is this advice – it feels shitty because it IS shitty.

    Having lost my darling husband of 30 years to cancer almost two years ago, the most objectionable advice about “Moving on” and “Letting go” and finding somebody else has come from women whose husbands are still alive. A sister-in-law told me three times in the first three months to
    “Get on with my life.” The third time, I asked her where her husband is. She HAS the life she knew to get on with; my life had been blown apart – I didn’t even know what it was anymore. I recognize it’s just a stupid platitude, but how dare she?

    I also have a major beef with people who – and this came in the first WEEK of Ken’s death – want to go on about you meeting somebody else. When you tell them you are not interested, they ARGUE: “Oh well, you’ll change your mind one day.” With respect to the subject of possibly having another partner in the future, I think it’s best to let the widowed person lead. Let him or her be the one to raise that; if they don’t or if they say they’re not interested, have enough respect for their process to SHUT UP. Do not presume to argue with them – it’s their life.

    One of the most beautiful responses I had when Ken passed, was to sit with a grief and loss worker looking at photographs. I was howling, and this beautiful lady said, “Darling, your heart has been broken, hasn’t it?” She was allowing me to be right where I was at. Any beautiful statements that acknowledge that Ken will always be a part of my life are also most helpful (as long as they aren’t accompanied by “but”), The best statements also honour my journey – i.e. “I’m proud of your efforts, Louise, in the face of something so tough.”

  72. Jan  September 14, 2018 at 1:56 pm Reply

    My 28 yr old nephew died from an accidental drug overdose 3 months after my father died. One of my “friends” asked if we were having a service for him (as if we wouldn’t because he was a drug addict).

    When I was struggling with putting my father in a nursing home before he died this same “friend” said “get over it – everyone goes through it”.

    People are just stupid

  73. Stevi  September 14, 2018 at 11:02 am Reply

    My mother passed because her immune system was compromised from her cancer treatments and she developed an infection that she could not fight. Ten months later my father passed, he had Lewy Body Dementia and a broken heart. On the day of my father’s funeral a realtor, that I did not have a contract with, called me and wanted to show my father’s house, I said no, I was getting ready for his funeral. She responded, “How did I not know about this?” then “Well, you don’t have to be there, I can still show the house, I just need a key.” I said, “No,” she became irritated. Needless to say, when I was ready, I contracted with another realtor.

  74. Tish  September 14, 2018 at 9:20 am Reply

    Bad- Your dad would not like to see you still grieving.
    Worse – Your dad cannot rest in peace until you stop being so sad.
    Best – My best friend climbed over a locked wrought iron gate to be with me because she just “felt” that I needed her.

  75. Marcia Dana  September 14, 2018 at 8:07 am Reply

    A couple of weeks after my husband died, at home, in our bed, an acquaintance asked me if I was getting used to sleeping alone. I was too shocked at the question to explain that I hadn’t slept alone yet. My close girlfriends rotated sleeping with me until I was ready to go it alone. She didn’t have a clue how callous her question was.

  76. Joan Micah  September 14, 2018 at 8:01 am Reply

    My adult son died in a motorbike accident. His partner lost her first husband in a car accident. Several stupid men said that ‘they wouldn’t want to be her third’. To this day, 11 years down the road of grief, I still can’t fathom how bloody stupid some people are.

  77. Linda Callaway  September 14, 2018 at 7:36 am Reply

    When my dear grandmother died, “Oh, she was old, then.”

  78. Susan  September 13, 2018 at 11:58 pm Reply

    Exactly (6) days after my grandmother’s passing in Dec. someone called me cheering “Happy New Year!” Note: This person knew I was grieving. It was insensitive. I certainly wasn’t happy.

    After losing a family member to suicide, someone asked me, “How are you doing?” I find that simple heartfelt comments always help during inmense pain.

  79. Joni  September 13, 2018 at 11:22 pm Reply

    I gave my partner unsuccessful CPR before the pros finally showed up. Two weeks later a “friend” said, “Now that you have experience with dead bodies…”

    Hearing terrible things is obviously one of the things that binds us together. Fortunately, the reactions we hear, bad and good (or crickets), are also a fantastic measure of who our real friends and family are… and who isn’t worth the time.

  80. Susan  September 13, 2018 at 10:00 pm Reply

    I was told one month after my husband ” You know You are not the only women who has lost a husband. Also, not everyone has a happy marriage” I was dumbfounded.

  81. Lisa  September 13, 2018 at 8:25 pm Reply

    Your bad Karma is the reason why your son is dead this from my oldest Sister

  82. Mary  September 13, 2018 at 5:05 pm Reply

    A good friend of mine, who is a licensed social worker, said “Suicide, a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” This was after my beautiful 28 year old daughter, a girl whom he had known since she was 7, died by suicide. The only way I have been able to forgive him is to remember he was gravely I’ll at the time. I can forgive him but I can’t forget it.

    I had so many best moments, that I can’t remeber them all but one that stands out for me was a coworker who simple said “it’s good to see you” once I returned to work.

  83. Dana  September 13, 2018 at 4:09 pm Reply

    I cannot fathom why people say what they say when someone passes. I know that I will never ask a griever to let me know what they need and I’ll be there. How do you know what you need? I only needed my mother and that couldn’t happen. And it’s absolutely mind boggling the number of folk that said I’m here for you. I’ll be in touch. I’m still waiting to hear from them. My Aunt told me that she would be there for me but it was clear from a telephone conversation in the early days that was not the case at all. However, she did not have an issue making sure that I was aware that my mother had told her that she could have a certain broach (even before my Mother’s last party) and that perhaps my family could find something of my mother’s for her children. My young cousin and his partner brought over a crockpot full of chili and all the fixing the Sunday after my mom’s last party and that was the very best thing that someone could have done for me and mine. When it is my turn to comfort a griever, I will clean a bathroom, make food, run errands, wash floors – anything at all but I will not ask them to let me know what they need. I will not say I’m here for you and quickly disappear. I will not ask for a memento of the person that passed for me or for my children.

    • Abs  January 10, 2020 at 4:39 pm Reply

      I ALWAYS ask what people need. I’ve never had someone be upset with me about it. I asked someone to let me know what she needed and all she said was “a hand.” I gave her a hand to hold, a hand with chores around the house and running errands, etc. She was very grateful. I don’t know what else to do, other than let people know I’m here. I certainly appreciated that from people when my grandmother passed. So, am I doing the wrong thing?

      • Trinity  September 3, 2021 at 12:17 pm

        Your intent is heartfelt and real. You’re not doing the wrong thing exactly. It’s just that grief is so exhausting that it helps if someone offers something concrete – Could I bring you a meal? Could we get a gift card to a restaurant? I think that the other side of this coin is the individuals who say they will do something when maybe it’s an unwelcome intrusion for some people during grief. Asking something concrete gives room to decline but also room for all the exhaustion of grief and relieving additional decisions when so many hard decisions might have just occurred or still be in process. The important thing is really meaning it AND following through. That means more to grievers than any offer or platitude.

  84. Deanne M Overvold  September 13, 2018 at 3:25 pm Reply

    My entire family walked away from us when my husband died. It has been 4 years and nothing has changed. And all those wonderful friends at the funeral who volunteered (remember I said volunteered) to visit us and do anything we needed, well we never heard from any of them either. All of these people give the grieving hope and then take it away. Someday they will walk in our shoes and I hope they clearly see our pain.

  85. Randy Williams  September 13, 2018 at 3:17 pm Reply

    As of September 22nd, it will have been 15 months since our son died. Not a peep out my sister. Not a single syllble. I’ll never be able to have a relationship with her even again. I’m deeply hurt.


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